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Full text of "A history of Persia"

260                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
the disposal of the Shah originally consisted of some sixty
thousand Kizilbash horsemen, who would obey none but
their chiefs. Consequently he was unable to give a com-
mand to any one outside the Kizilbash themselves, in
whose hands the entire power lay. To meet this difficulty
he halved the numbers of the tribal contingents and
organized a body of ten thousand cavalry and twelve
thousand infantry, paid and officered by the crown.
Allah Verdi1 Beg, the celebrated Commander-in-
Chief, was quick to see the advantages of the Sherley
mission, which included among its members a cannon-
founder. With his assistance and thanks to the Sherleys,
batteries of artillery were formed, as well as regiments of
regular infantry. Indeed, mainly through the initiative
of our fellow-countrymen, a revolution was effected in
the military organization, and in place of a feudal force of
horsemen Persia soon possessed an army fit to meet that
of Turkey in the field. To quote from the old English
book of travels : " The mightie Ottoman, terror of the
Christian world, quaketh of a Sherly feuer, and gives
hopes of approaching fates : the prevailing Persian hath
learned Sherleian arts of war ; and he which before knew
not the use of ordnance, hath now five hundred pieces
of brasse, and sixty thousand musketiers: so that they,
which at hand with the sword were before dreadful to the
Turkes, now also, in remoter blows and sulfurian arts,
are growne terrible.",
The Formation of the Shah, Savan Tribe.—Yet another
counterpoise to the turbulent Kizilbash was obtained by
inviting members of all tribes to enrol themselves as
Shah Savan, or " Friends of the Shah." This stroke of
policy was entirely successful; thousands of men joined
the new tribe, and the Shah was released from dependance
on the Kizilbash. The tribe remains powerful at the
present day and inhabits a wide stretch of country between
Tabriz and Ardebil and south-east as far as Kazvin.
Sir Anthony Sherley as Ambassador.—The great question
agitating the Persian Court was whether war should be
1 Malcolm terms this well-known nobleman Ali Verdi, but Allah Verdi, meaning
«God gave" in Turkish, is correct His curious death is mentioned in The Glory of
the Shia World, p. 266.